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Clearance for Jaitapur nuclear project

November 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Vinaya Deshpande in The Hindu

November 29, 2010

Mumbai: The 9900-MWe Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project has received environmental clearance, but with quite a few strings attached.

Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh announced the clearance with 35 conditions and safeguards during a press conference here on Sunday. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan termed it a historic day and said that the project would see an investment of Rs. 1 lakh crore.

“It is the largest engineering project ever conceived in the country and the kind of investment it will bring is unimaginable,” he said. This is the second big environmental clearance in a row for the State after the Ministry of Environment and Forests cleared the decks for the Navi Mumbai international airport last week.

The Jaitapur project will come up in collaboration with French giant Areva, which will supply uranium and reactor units, according to a booklet released by the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited. An agreement between Areva and NPCIL is expected to be signed during French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s India visit next month.

The project involves setting up six units of 1650 MWe capacity each. The first unit is expected to be commissioned by 2017-18. It will help Maharashtra reduce its energy deficit. “Nearly 1000 hectares of land has already been acquired for the project,” Mr. Chavan said.

As for the grievances of the local community, Mr Chavan said that the State government had formed an Empowered Group of Ministers to enhance the compensation.

Jaitapur nuclear project gets conditional eco clearance

November 28, 2010 Leave a comment

The Hindu Businessline Bureau
10,000 MW unit to bring in investment of over Rs 1 lakh crore.

Mumbai, Nov. 28

The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest on Sunday gave a conditional environmental clearance to the 10,000 MW Jaitapur nuclear plant in Maharashtra. The project will come up in phases over the next 15 years and will bring in an investment of more than Rs 1 lakh crore in the region.

Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) will have to abide by 35 environmental conditions in which top priority has been given to preserving the marine biodiversity of the sea near the plant.

Phase I

The first phase is expected to be completed within the next five years and the remaining phases by 2020. French nuclear giant, Areva, will provide six European pressurised reactors. These third generation reactors are designed with very advance safety features. An agreement between Areva and NPCIL is likely to be signed next month during the French President, Mr Nicholas Sarkozy’s state visit to India. The Union Minister for Environment and Forests, Mr Jairman Ramesh, addressing the media, said that the clearance to the project has been given considering major issues such as national economic growth, diversification of fuel mix for power generation in the country, strategic diplomacy and environmental concerns, he said.

Ecologically-sensitive

Jaitapur plant, located at Ratnagiri, is part of the ecologically-sensitive Western Ghats region, he said. The only forest cover in Maharashtra is in this region and in the Vidarbha. Therefore, the Ministry had to strike a balance between development and environment while sanctioning the project, he said. Mr Ramesh said his Ministry had given the environmental clearance to the Jaitapur project in 80 days from the day NPCIL submitted the final environment assessment report. The Navi Mumbai airport clearance took 115 days from the time City and Industrial Development Corporation of Maharashtra submitted its assessment report, he said.

“I am not anti-development; environment clearance is given to about 95 per cent of the projects which come to my Ministry while 85 per cent get forest clearance,” he said.

Mr Ramesh said although the project has got the environment clearance, if it (the project) undergoes some changes in terms of design and technology while getting approval from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and if those changes have a significant impact on the environment, then the project will have to be referred back to the Ministry for environment clearance, he said.

MOEF Environmental Clearance for Jaitapur Nuclear Plant

November 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Environmental Clearance for JNPP by MOEF in Nov 2009 (pdf)

link to copy on NPCIL website,

link to local copy

Massive Satyagraha at Jaitapur-Madban against Nuclear Power Project

November 7, 2010 Leave a comment

Vivek Monteiro in People’s Democracy

November 7, 2010

THE people’s struggle against the Jaitapur Nuclear Power Project (JNPP) reached a qualitatively higher stage on October 29 with the massive response to the Jail Bharo call issued by the Jan Hit Seva Samiti — an organisation of the project affected people. On October 16, the Maharashtra government and the Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd declared a fresh compensation and rehabilitation package of Rs 650 crore. On the occasion, GoM minister Narayan Rane made the statement that the opposition to the project was from outsiders only and that the local people were in its favour. The October 29 satyagraha and Jail Bharo call was given in response to the minister’s statement. It was termed by the press and the media as a “shakti pradarshan” (show of strength).

Understanding that this would be a crucial trial of strength, the state administration and NPCIL went all-out to thwart the satyagraha. Prohibitory orders were issued by the police. Preventive arrests and detention commenced immediately thereafter. However, no important leader could be arrested, as the main leadership had gone underground. Despite the repressive measures, the work of mobilisation continued uninterrupted.

In an earlier article on Jaitapur, we have reported about the challenge to the Enivronmental Impact Assessment made by the Konkan Bachao Samiti. KBS activists Arun Velaskar and Mangesh Chavan evaded the police dragnet to hold meetings of villagers in all the neighbouring villages.

From October 28 itself, all roads leading to Madban village (the site of the proposed JNPP) were sealed. Police forces from three districts — Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg — were deployed on all roads and major intersections in Rajapur taluka. The vehicles of Admiral Ramdas (Retd) and Supreme Court Justice P B Sawant (Retd) were stopped and prevented from reaching the venue of the satyagraha.

On the 29th morning, the police twice stopped and searched the state transport bus in which this correspondent — along with Pramila Manjalkar and Sugandhi Francis, president and secretary respectively of Janwadi Mahila Sangathana, Mumbai — were travelling to Madban from Rajapur. We could evade the police cordon around Madban by dismounting at the nearby village Mitgawhane and walking to the site through a hilly jungle path. Mitgawhane is Pramila Manjalkar’s ancestral village. When we reached there, it was deserted. We were told that everyone had gone to join the satyagraha.

When we reached Madban, more than 1500 satyagrahis had already arrived. They had reached the site by walking up paths in the hills or coming by boats through the sea route. The local Bhagwati Devi temple was jampacked with women. It was clear that the preventive orders had failed completely to prevent the satyagraha.

At the appointed time of 11.30 a m, Jan Hit Sewa Samiti president Pravin Gawhankar — against whom an arrest warrant had been issued several days earlier — appeared in the midst of the temple and addressed the crowd,  while the heavily outnumbered police watched as bystanders. The demonstrators were holding placards reading “Areva, Go Back,” “Sarkozy, Go Back” and “Obama, Go Back.”

Addressing the media, Gawhankar said the enhanced package was meaningless because we were not negotiating about the compensation amount, nor had we asked for compensation. People are opposing the nuclear project.

Vivek Monteiro stated that the JNPP had not been subjected to scientific scrutiny and would fail the scientific test. The decision to build the JNPP is not scientific but political. He informed the media that the Trade Unions Joint Action Committee had passed a resolution to support the struggle and that soon the campaign would be taken to other districts of Maharashtra.

Addressing the crowd, Arun Velaskar said that the JNPP is an outcome of the Indo-US nuclear deal and that Sarkozy and Obama would be coming to India to sell expensive reactors that nobody in their own countries was willing to buy. The court arrest began in a disciplined manner at around 12.30 p m. At around 2 p m, Justice Kolshe-Patil reached the venue and addressed the demonstrators. He too was arrested.

The police arrangements for transporting the demonstrators to a detention centre at the Abbasaheb Marathe College at Hativale, 25 kilometres away, collapsed in the face of the growing numbers of satyagrahis. An estimated 500 to 600 fisherfolk, including 250 women, arrived from the neighbouring Nate fishing village by boat after offering the morning namaaz, adding to the crowd. In the face of the growing crowds, after two rounds of arrests and transportation, in which around 800 persons were arrested, the deputy collector had to request the leadership to stop courting arrest.

The successful satyagraha was a resounding rejoinder to Narayan Rane and the government. The spontaneous mass mobilisation in the face of prohibitory orders, arrests and detention, not only by the affected villages but also from the neighbouring villages whose lands have not been acquired, is an indication that the appeal of those opposing the JNPP is broadening. The message of the satyagraha is clear. Those supporting the project will face political isolation in the coming days. The struggle against the JNPP is now emerging as a democratic mass struggle which has the potential to change the political landscape of the Konkan coast districts in Maharashtra.